aeolian harp

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aeolian harp

a stringed instrument that produces a musical sound when a current of air or wind passes over the strings
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Aeolian Harp


(1) A stringed instrument. The aeolian harp is a narrow wooden box, equipped with sound holes, that serves as a resonator; eight to 13 strings of varying thicknesses, all tuned in unison, are stretched inside the box. The instrument was positioned on the roof of a house, where wind caused the strings to vibrate and produce various harmonics over the same fundamental. The sound ranged, depending on the force of the wind, from a low, gentle tone to a quite loud one. The aeolian harp has been known since the tenth century.

(2) In Russia, the name of an instrument with vibrating metal reeds and a round, flared opening, or bell; a type of accordion. First made in St. Petersburg in the early 19th century, the instrument was later produced in other cities of Russia as well.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

Aeolian harp

musical instrument activated by winds. [Gk. Myth.: Jobes, 40]
See: Wind
Allusions—Cultural, Literary, Biblical, and Historical: A Thematic Dictionary. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
There's a legend of a German baron who at his castle on the Rhine, stretched wires from tower to tower, so that the winds would convert them into an Aeolian harp. Soft breeze played about the castle but no music came out.
'Only when you face tough times,' I told him, 'will you know!' And as I see him tough and resolute everyday even as his company goes us and down, I look at him and hear sweet music, the strains of the Aeolian harp above the terrors of the tempest, how lovely the sound!
The experience will be enhanced by Aeolian Harps on some nights and storytelling in the Great Oak Hall.